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North Macedonia orders expulsion of Russian diplomat

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — North Macedonia is expelling a Russian diplomat from the country, but authorities on Tuesday didn’t give any explanation for its decision.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it had summoned the Russian ambassador to the ministry last Friday to inform him of the decision concerning one of the senior diplomats in his embassy. The diplomat, whose rank and identity hasn’t been made public, was given seven days to leave the country, the ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement that the decision was “in accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” but gave no further explanation for its decision. Article 9 states that any state may declare a diplomat from another state “persona non grata,” without having to provide an explanation.

A spokeswoman at the Russian Embassy in Skopje, Ekaterina Akopjan, confirmed that a diplomat had been declared “persona non grata” and said Russian authorities were reviewing reciprocity measures. She wouldn’t confirm whether the diplomat had already left North Macedonia.

This is the second time that North Macedonia has expelled a Russian diplomat. In March 2018, the country expelled an unnamed Russian diplomat, citing domestic security reasons and solidarity with Britain over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain which the U.K. has accused Russia of being behind.

The Associated Press